While sin in our own hearts is our most foundational problem, it’s not our only problem. When we oversimplify and moralize everything, we run the risk of not loving our spouse as a whole person. Join us as we discuss chapter 2 of Dave Harvey’s new book, I┬áStill Do.


Intro
The “Gospel Shaped Home” podcast is a family discipleship resource from Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. It aims to equip you and your family to be on mission with God to the end of the street and the ends of the earth.

Andy Owens
Welcome back to another episode of “Gospel Shaped Home.” I’m Andy Owens, pastor of Family Discipleship here at Providence. Once again, joined by my brother, Bryan Nelson. Bryan, welcome.

Bryan Nelson
Thank you, Andy.

Andy
You’re welcome. And I think you, our listeners, are in for a treat today because we have some very special guests. Just by the amount of humor that has already happened as we’ve tried to get this podcast recorder on is just really giving to me that this is going to be a really fun episode. So Karl and Shanna Moss are here with us today, Karl and Shanna, welcome.

Karl Moss
Thank you.

Shanna Moss
Thank you.

Andy
Glad you guys are here. Why don’t you just introduce yourselves for a minute? Tell our listeners who you are, about your marriage, kids, how long you’ve been at Providence, stuff like that.

Karl
Okay. I’m Karl and my wife is Shanna. We’ve been married for almost 35 years. We’ve been at Providence for, I don’t know, 15 or 16 years I think.

Shanna
We always get that one wrong. Forever, but it’s not forever.

Karl
We have five children. We like to tell people it’s like two sets of kids. We have three older kids, 33, 31, 29. And then there’s a big gap and we have two other boys, 21 and 19. So we are newly empty nesters, which is pretty fun.

Shanna
You forgot our sons-in-love.

Karl
Oh, and we have two sons-in-law. Our oldest, Valerie, just recently got married to Jason. They live in Japan. Jason’s actually Australian. And Isaac and Jillian live here in Raleigh.

Andy
Okay, awesome. And what life group are you guys in?

Karl
We are in the Bunzey/Weisenfeld … Kate’s class.

Andy
And what other ways are you guys involved at Providence? What other ministries are you part of?

Shanna
I’m involved in the Upper Room ministry. And then in our class, I was involved in the missions part of our class. And then we enjoy just serving families that we are involved in. So when Providence had AWANA, we were really involved in AWANA. And through AWANA, we met several young couples. And through the Marriage Foundation’s life group, we know several of those couples and they’re having children now. And so we just enjoy ministering to them and getting to know their kids. And in some ways, they’re a lot like our kids here and our church grandkids, our church kids.

Andy
That’s awesome. And Karl, did you recently pick up a new skill, hobby/way to serve the church?

Karl
I did. So I’ve been, for a long time, wanting to learn how to play the bass guitar. So I started lessons last year and I’ve been recently playing for the Praise and Worship band.

Andy
Yeah, I’ve been encouraged seeing you up there.

So Erica and I, our kids, we’ve been just blessed, encouraged by Karl and Shanna on multiple occasions. Just enjoyed some fellowship with them. But also some time six or eight months ago, I was meeting with a brother in the church and talking about life and marriage and family and all sorts of stuff. He told me, “Hey, we recently got connected with a couple in the church just to kind of give us some mentoring, coaching in the area of just marriage and bearing with one another in a Christ-like way in our home.” And it was Karl and Shanna and I wasn’t surprised, so thank you guys for your service to the church and praise God for His grace and your lives.

So today, we’re talking about chapter two of Dave Harvey’s book, “I Still Do.” Defining Moment #1, that’s going to be a constant source of confusion. The chapter numbers don’t match the number of defining moments. So this is Defining Moment #1, when you discover brokenness is broader than sin.

Bryan, you just want to give us a quick overview? What’s the big idea in this chapter and why does it matter?

Bryan
Yeah. When you discover that your brokenness is broader than sin …

Andy
Okay, so you’re going to restate it or rephrase it?

Karl
Bryan, you should write a book.

Bryan
In all seriousness, we talked about this last time. Dave Harvey wrote a marriage book, “When Sinners Say I Do.” And the whole premise behind the book was that when you come into marriage, you’d bring a suitcase full of things. And in all of the things that you bring into your marriage with you, because you walked down the aisle with it, one of the most defining things is your sin and coming to terms with the reality that you’re a sinner and your spouse is and you’re stepping into a covenant relationship together.

And so now what I think is just fascinating and amazing with this book is he’s turning a corner to say, “Yes, your biggest problem is sin.” That’s fundamentally true. It’s what the gospel teaches us, but it’s not just sin. There’s so many other things in that suitcase that make you who you are.

In this chapter, he says, “When we don’t see that it’s more than sin, we miss seeing our spouse, as a whole person full of sin and grace, weakness and strength, the person with a broken and beautiful human body wrapped around an eternal soul.” And so this chapter, he pushes into the reality that we are more than our sin and that matters in the marriage relationship.

Andy
Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. The fundamental problem is sin. And the only solution is God’s grace to us in Jesus. But the point is that’s not the only problem. We’re more complex than that. And that actually is to the glory of God in Christ because the Gospel heals more than just our fallen hearts. It brings restoration into lots of other areas as well. Though, some of them we won’t experience until the new heavens and the new earth. But yeah, that’s the big idea.

And what he does in this chapter, this chapter really is foundational for the book and the content of the chapter is what kind of turned me onto this book. I heard an interview with Dave Harvey, where he was walking through the first time he heard about these nested circles from David Powlison. And the idea is what does it mean to be human in a fallen world? What does it mean to be a person living in this world? And so he said, “David Powlison walked up to the board and he drew a circle and wrote in it, heart.” The human heart because that is the center of all our human motivation. It’s the core of our human existence, he says. It’s our heart and our desires that determine what we do and what not.

And he said, “As a pastor, I was pretty comfortable with that.” But then he said he wrote another circle or around it, and then wrote physically embodied. So around the core circle of the human heart is our physical reality of our human bodies. And he said that our hearts exist within a decaying frame. We’re aging. We need sleep. We get sick. We forget where our keys are. Or in his case, also very humorously, we forget where our car is. This chapter, just like the previous one, is really, really fun to read. So I’ll say it now, it’s a bad omen when you start your day realizing that your key is fine, but your brain is defective after you realized he was trying to unlock the wrong car for a few minutes. So the reality is that because the whole creation is subjected to futility under a crown of thorns because of sin and the fall, our bodies are weak and they’re wasting away. But that’s not all, there’s another circle around that and it’s called socially embedded.

Our hearts plagued by sin, bodies plagued by weakness exist in a particular social setting and in relationships with other people. And while our family of origin and our social status and setting are not determinative for who we are and what we do, it very much has an impact. Our past experiences have present influence is the way that he says it, that our relationships and our past deeply influence how we think, how we choose how we live, but the circles keep coming.

Around that is spiritually embattled. So we are a human heart that’s physically embodied, socially embedded, and spiritually embattled, meaning we live in an unseen battleground. We live in a world where the rulers and the authorities over this present darkness are waging a war and seeking to devour us. We have an enemy of our souls, and it has an impact on how we think, how we choose. It’s hard to quantify or make it really clear how much my own heart’s desires and my circumstances play in versus Satan’s temptations. But we do live in a spiritual world. But then finally, around it all is this final circle of God’s providence. So human heart, physically embodied, socially embedded, spiritually embattled, but ruled over sovereignly, wisely and goodly by the providence of God.

This is God’s wisdom and power ruling over every circumstance, every detail of our lives. And ultimately, for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. This final circle is why Joseph can say to his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” It’s why we can have confidence … I think I mentioned this last week, Ephesians 1:11, that God is working all things together according to the counsel of His will, which is a good, redeeming, saving will.

So that’s a really big idea. It’s a lot of words, but it’s a simple illustration of these embedded circles that kind of explains this tremendously complex reality of who we are and why we do what we do in a fallen world. So let me stop and say, Bryan, Karl, Shanna, what else would you say to clarify, to add to this kind of big idea of these circles in this chapter?

Shanna
Well, I, too, when I saw those circles, this embodies everything that we have worked with, with various marriage studies and various conferences we’ve been to, et cetera. I mean, as Karl and I have gone to various weekends and talk with various couples, when you think about your aging body, when you think about your family of origin, when you think about the things that you have been through as a couple, but then you think of how Christ and His redeeming work, that the chord of three strands that’s not easily broken, that that is what enables you to work through those things, worked through conflict, worked through the differences between male and female.

Just every book we’ve read can highlight differences and can highlight ways to deal with conflict. But ultimately, until you are really seeking Christ and His redemptive work, knowing that He is what is going to help you get through that and what is going to be the thing that is going to unite you, that’s the key right there.

Karl
Yeah. One thing that struck me in the chapter, and he kind of introduced this concept with something called Occam’s razor, and that’s a problem-solving principle that says if there’s competing ways to solve a problem, the best solution is typically the one with the fewest assumptions.

The fewest assumptions here is your heart is sinful, so therefore that is the solution, but it goes much deeper than that. These circles illustrate that there’s so much more going on in influencing your relationship than just your sinful heart. There’s other things that influence that and that’s kind of what the circles embody.

Andy
And I felt like the two illustrations of the couples in this chapter, at the beginning and at the end … I mean, to my shame and dismay, I said, “Man, that is exactly how I used to treat Erica.” I was just so quick to oversimplify this is a sin issue, you must be not believing God’s promise for X, you should repent, you should take hold of this promise. Can we be done talking about this now? I mean, I didn’t realize how selfish it was of me, but to really just want that kind of quick-fix simplistic approach often was driven by I don’t want to be bothered by your continued struggle and I don’t want to have to deal with this. And ultimately, growing to know her and to live with her according to knowledge has helped. By God’s grace, that’s not how I typically approach her now.

Bryan
But yeah, so what’s what I think is amazing about that is Dave hasn’t given us permission to think this way, but I think this is what he’s pressing us toward. None of these things are permission to blame something else for what’s going on in our lives. But it’s a recognition that in every sphere of our lives, there’s a reason why we need to race to the Lord for help in navigating those things, whatever sphere it’s in, whichever. And I just think that’s super helpful because it doesn’t take those things off the table. It doesn’t oversimplify our problems, but it also doesn’t excuse them.

Karl
Well, I think too, it’s also worth remembering it’s worth the energy to mine these other issues to find out what’s behind the reaction or the thought process to get to know your spouse in a deeper level. Even at 35 years, we still learn about …

Andy
35 years old? Is that what you’re saying?

Karl
35 years of marriage.

Andy
Oh, yeah. Sorry.

Shanna
Yeah, 35 five years young of marriage.

Karl
We’re still mining some of those gems. And it’s worth it. It’s worth the energy.

Shanna
Yeah. And for us, I mean, we met at church. We were youth group sweethearts. Our parents were in the same Sunday school class. And so sometimes I think when you’re in the church and when you are believers, that there’s even more of a danger to oversimplify things and to say, “This is a sin issue,” or “If you would just read your Bible more, if you would just do this,” but we can’t ignore our bodies. We can’t ignore our minds. We can’t ignore …

Karl
Our upbringing.

Shanna
Yeah, our upbringing.

Andy
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first part of Bryan and I’s conversation with Karl and Shanna. You can check out the rest of it on part two of this episode. Thank you for joining. Hope that your heart has been encouraged by God’s grace in Christ and hope to see you on the next episode.

Outro
Thanks for listening to this episode of the “Gospel Shaped Home” podcast produced by Providence Baptist Church of Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information and resources from Providence, visit us online at pray.org. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider subscribing and leaving a review on the Apple Podcast.